Can Haas keep the momentum?
Kevin Currie - Golf Editor|
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Bill Haas has consistently won on the PGA Tour with six titles over the last six years, with two wins in the 2010 season.
He fought through a crowded leaderboard on Sunday to win the Humana Challenge and pick up his first win since the 2013 season. Can he continue the momentum after this victory?
His wins in 2011 (Tour Championship) and 2013 (AT&T National) helped him make his only two national teams as he played on the United States Presidents Cup teams those seasons.
In his career, the only time Haas kept a little momentum after a win was in the 2010 campaign, when he won twice. His first victory that season happened in January and his second title was in October. But those wins were among just four top-10 finishes for the season.
The following year his victory was the seventh and final top-10 finish of the season. It also came at the end of the season, so there wasn't much he could do. He could have used the momentum to carry him into the Presidents Cup, but he went just 1-3-1 at that event.
Haas' win in 2012 was early in the season as he won the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. He played 18 more events the remainder of that season, and posted just one more top-10 finish.
His 2013 victory came in July and he played nine events following that title. He notched two more top-10s after the victory.
History shows that Haas has struggled to carry the momentum through a full season. Can he do that this time around?
Coming off a 2014 season in which he played through a wrist injury, Haas seemed surprised that he won on Sunday.
"Honestly, if you would have told me I would have done this last week, I would have laughed at you," Haas said afterward. "It's definitely a relief. Any kind of a win is unbelievable."
If Haas can carry the momentum through this season, it will depend on the health of his wrist.
"Well, it's definitely a concern, just because any time your body doesn't feel great, you don't know what's going on. And there's a tiny little fracture and a tiny little bone in my wrist and I was able to play on it," Haas said. "It doesn't hurt that bad to hit, but I do think I favor it. I've lost distance since I hurt it and that's something I've been complaining about. Just trying to let it get healthy enough to where I can be more aggressive through the ball. Whether or not it hurts or not, I think my body's compensating for it a little bit, unconsciously."
Haas is lowering expectations and being realistic at the same time. One bad swing could put him on the shelf for a lengthy amount of time.
He has averaged 27 events a season in his nine full seasons on the tour. So with the season in full swing, it is hard to find time to take more than two or three straight weeks off to rest.
Rest, patience and focus are three things Haas will need a premium on the remainder of this season if he is to carry the momentum from this victory through the year.
WOODS READY TO GO
Tiger Woods met with the media at the TPC Scottsdale after playing a quick nine holes and assessed the state of his game. He also reminisced about his previous appearances at the Phoenix Open.
Woods has played the event three times, but not since 2001. Two of those trips were memorable.
In his first appearance in 1997, Woods had a hole-in-one on the raucous par-3 16th.
"Smelling and hearing the beer hit behind me on the tee box ... to see all this beer flying was crazy," Woods recalled of his ace.
Two years later, his tee shot on the par-5 13th stopped behind a boulder in the desert (), but he got a few friends to move it.
"I thought it was lighter than it was," Woods joked of the boulder. "I thought I could move it (because it was a loose impediment). Evidently it took like five other dudes to do it. The funny thing about it is, they moved it the wrong way. If you remember, I hit it in the right bunker, but I wanted to hit it up the left."
Woods not only chuckled several times sharing those stories, but showed off his photographic memory of his career at the same time.
He went on to say that he is now healthy after a lengthy battle with the flu, and he is getting back to hitting his golf ball distances that he didn't think he would be able to get back to following his back problems last year.
We may not be able see that first hand this week with cool, rainy conditions expected on Friday and Saturday.
It will be interesting what Woods' game looks like because he played one tournament since August. His short game will be the biggest focus of the week after he struggled with it at his own event in December.
* Branden Grace has had six 54-hole leads in his European Tour career, and he has won all six events. He fired a 66 in the final round in Qatar to win by one stroke.
* The LPGA and Web.com tours kick off their seasons this week. The LPGA has a new event in Florida and you can tell the players are ready for the season to get underway as 16 of the top-20 players from the world rankings are in the field at the Coates Golf Championship.